So much for Alex Salmond the champion of equality

Salmond's admiration for Vladimir Putin demonstrates once again that there is nothing left-wing about the SNP, writes James Bloodworth.

Salmond’s admiration for Vladimir Putin demonstrates once again that there is nothing left-wing about the SNP, writes James Bloodworth

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond likes to portray himself as a champion of equality. Commenting on the recent promotion of two women to ministerial posts in the Scottish government, Salmond said the promotions “underline our [the SNP’s] commitment to equality, to pensions and to helping the young people of Scotland into the workplace”.

Salmond also likes to posit the SNP as a kind of left-wing alternative to Labour north of the border.

Strange, then, to find the SNP leader cosying up to the ultra-conservative Russian leader Vladimir Putin and working alongside a man who led a campaign to keep Section 28, the homophobic piece of Tory legislation which forbade councils from “promoting homosexuality”.

As reported by the Telegraph today, the first minister Salmond has said it is a “good thing” that confidence has returned to Russia. He also called the Russian president “more effective” than his portrayal by the press suggests.

By ‘confidence’ Salmond must mean the new Russian belligerence that has seen Putin invade and occupy a would-be independent nation and try to carve off chunks of its eastern flank. So much for national independence! Presumably this admiration is also why SNP figures appear so regularly on Russian state television channel RT, a station praised by BNP leader Nick Griffin for its “commitment to truth and balance”.

Despite posing as the defender of national sovereignty, when it comes to the sovereignty of Ukraine it appears the first minister’s position is not unlike that of Nigel Farage’s: the self-style defender of the nation state says the man who is trampling on Ukrainian independence is the leader he most admires. Sovereignty for some but not for others, then. Yes Salmond’s comments were pre-Crimea, but they also come long after Putin has flattened Chechnya, brutally cracked down on internal dissent and bumped off at least one political opponent.

Praising Putin in these tones is also grossly offensive to LGBT Scots. The Putin that Salmond praises as “effective” is the same Putin who has likened homosexuals to pedophiles. Putin has also said that Russia needs to “cleanse” itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

And speaking of homophobes, we now learn that Stagecoach owner Brian Souter has donated £100,000 to a Christian group which is helping Salmond’s campaign for Scotland to vote Yes in September. Souter also gave the SNP £500,000 at the 2011 Holyrood election. That’s the same Brian Souter who spent £1 million on a privately funded referendum aimed at retaining legislation banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in schools, otherwise known as Section 28.

So much for Alex Salmond the champion of equality. As others have recently pointed out, there is nothing left-wing about the SNP.

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13 Responses to “So much for Alex Salmond the champion of equality”

  1. asalord

    From The Scotsman 28/4/14:

    “Russian state news agency Itar-Tass
    had last week reported an anonymous source in David Cameron’s office
    saying that Britain were seeking support from Russia on the Scottish
    independence debate and pulling troops out of Afghanistan. These claims
    were reported by the Sunday Herald.

    The original report, issued on Hogmanay, said: “Great Britain is extremely interested in the support of Russia, as holder of the G8 presidency, in two vital areas in 2014:
    the Afghan pull-out and the Scottish independence referendum.”

  2. KBPlayer

    I really don’t think the SNP makes a big thing out of being “left wing”. The SNP is a nationalist party that cuts across the usual liberal and left stances. Left wing Yesses anticipate that if Scotland were to become independent, the SNP politicians would split into the usual left and right. Their left case for backing independence is that an independent Scotland would be more likely to be social democrat than the UK.

    As far as trade unions go, the CWU are no, ; the railwaymen are for no; the GMB are for no, and the Yesses are prison officers and Ryanair.

    Certainly Salmond does go on Russia Today and of course Russia would love to chip a little away from NATO, and would see Scottish independence as a way of weakening the UK militarily. However Russia Today stalwart George Galloway is anti-independence – though I have no idea whether he talks about Scottish independence on Russia Today or simply supports Putin’s policies against the west in Ukraine and Syria along with his normal anti-zionism stuff. Ultra left John Wight of Socialist Unity does pieces for Russia Today and is a No.

    As for Salmond’s “equality” shtick – he’s no different from other politicians, in preaching equality at home and praising anti-equality merchants abroad. Remember Blair sucking up to Saudi Arabia, with them sharing “our values”.

  3. mikkolosko

    Behind support in the Kremlin to builders of “KGB democracy”

    In the inheritance from the died USSR Ukraine has taught the third in the world rocket
    – nuclear potential which she has imprudently presented to Russia in exchange
    for the paper piece, named Budapest memorandum of 1994. Signed this document
    USA, Russia and Great Britain guaranteed independence, sovereignty and
    indestructibility of Ukraine borders.

    Having made perfidious annexation of Crimea, Russia has suggested to Ukraine to throw out this piece of a paper in a garbage basket and more it not to recollect that not
    to receive trouble. Ukraine has agreed doomely , but it has not helped.
    Appetite, according to dieticians, comes to meal time, therefore, having
    swallowed Crimea, Russia has started the second dish – East Ukraine.

    Guarantors of territorial integrity of Ukraine under the Budapest memorandum have started to carry out the guarantee certificates, that while is shown in the form of
    threats of economic sanctions and political isolation. Practically it means
    refusal from any agreements and signing any contracts in any sphere. It is quite reasonable, since the case with Crimea shows, that Russia considers signing of the joint document only as the technical actions which are not involving any legal obligations and a paper piece right after drying of ink can be thrown out at once in a garbage basket.
    For what in that case useless work on achievement of the agreements and signing
    of documents is necessary?

    Unfortunately, adherence to useless and senseless actions is rather typical for Russia after
    1917. To take at least communism construction. Within 80 years the Russian
    people self-denyingly worked, leaving mountain of corpses on a way to a victory
    before has understood, that all it is useless, the communism is not taught, and
    has then turned back and has started to build again capitalism, but alas while
    unsuccessfully. In the USSR have put hundred thousand monuments to Lenin on all
    country and now them have taken down. For what these monuments have constructed?

    The example of infringement of the Budapest memorandum across Ukraine, shows, that in the country headed by two diplomaed lawyers Putin and Medvedev, is absent understanding, that a basis of any agreement is the trust and therefore confidence that the subscribed agreement will be carry out.

    There can be main Russian lawyers will be surprised if learn, that not only the
    international relations, but also money are based on trust. People believe,
    that in an exchange for a pack of green paper pieces it is possible to receive,
    for example, the new car and consequently they trustfully takes pieces of paper
    in factory cash desk in exchange for work.

    Masters also do not need to forget, that absence of revolution in the country is a
    trust question too. There will be no revolution in the country until people trust,
    that masters do not plunder tax money and perform that work for which the
    people pay in them the salary. It is the First Law of Revolution same exact, as
    Newton’s First Law. Besides accuracy of this law was experimentally proved by
    the former president of Ukraine whom young revolutionaries have expelled from a
    presidential armchair by legs from tables and chairs for larceny of their

    In Russia experiment on plundering of taxes proceeds, where masters hope to deny the
    First Law of Revolution, trying to fill in an eye to the people propagation
    slops, and to plant in prison especially big-eyed and especially clever. There
    is no doubt, time will show, than this experiment will end.

    Simultaneously with it the Russian authorities make one more experiment. Whether check it is possible to avoid punishment, making a criminal offence in the field of
    international law? As object of experiment the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea is
    chosen, where Russia have promised to increase four times the salary to civil
    servants and pension to pensioners. But inhabitants of Crimea, unfortunately,
    do not know about existence of the law of economy, too exact, as Law Newton, which
    ascertains if the salary and pension increase four times as the prices for a
    foodstuff increase in much time. They do not consider also, that the genius of
    the Russian literature Feodor Mihajlovich Dostoevsky has written “Crime
    and Punishment” and for them. That they understood, that the crime is
    followed by punishment always and instead of expected increase the salaries,
    involved in the international crime, inhabitants of Crimea will receive together with the new native land punishment in the form of economic sanctions. And they should console themselves in a sad axiom: «wanted as better, and it has turned out, as always».

    But it appears, that bent for of independence and an autonomy is found out and in a
    cradle of democracy the Great Britain and as an example for imitation Crimea
    and, as a source of favourable support, Russia is considered. But after all experiment
    yet has not ended. On the contrary, history of Crimea Reunions with Russia only begins also its end is lost in an uncertainty haze except that sanctions, it is defined, will.

    Yes, of course, Scotland does not assume joining to Russia and «green boys» with
    automatic machines Kalashnicov will not provide hardly correctness of voting on
    a referendum. But it is not necessary to forget, that movement routes of «green
    boys» not in small degree are defined by nuclear potential of the Great Britain
    and NATO.

    Practical interest of Crimea inhabitants expecting increase of the salary four times is
    clear. There can be to inhabitants of Scotland someone promised salary increase
    four times too after branch from the Great Britain? Interestingly, who promised

    It can not be necessary to search councils and support at unlucky builders of
    communism, capitalism and “KGB democracy “, and to wait for termination of
    experiment with Crimea?

  4. Alec

    Russian state news agency Itar-Tass
    had last week reported an anonymous source in David Cameron’s office

    Is this the same anonymous source who said the UK would be open to negotiation on a currency union? It doesn’t matter, though, ‘cos all you have in one account from Itar-bloody-Tass… completely worthless.


  5. dougthedug

    In the interests of balance here’s the actual quote from the Telegraph.

    Asked about Mr Putin, the First Minister said: “Well, obviously, I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but I think Putin’s more effective than the press he gets I would have thought, and you can see why he carries support in Russia.”

    Pressed on whether he admires the Russian leader, Mr Salmond said: “Certain aspects. He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing. There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the inter-mesh with business and politics that are obviously difficult to admire. Russians are fantastic people, incidentally, they are lovely people

    Leftwing, rightwing? What a joke. This piece is even more tabloid and British nationalist than the Telegraph. When I’ve got to quote the Telegraph for balance on leftfootforward things really have gone through the looking glass.

    When the British establishment tag team of Labour and Tory are attacking Salmond you know he’s working for Scotland.

  6. Iain Stewart

    I wonder if you read the speech or just swallowed the headlines from Britain’s Pravda’s.

  7. AdamRamsay

    The comments on Putin are clearly idiotic, and accepting donations from Brian Souter is wrong. But

    1) let’s not forget that Better Together have taken money from a man whose company, funded Saddam Hussein and a Serbian Warlord: and much more besides…

    2) the idea that ‘there’s nothing left-wing about the SNP’ is laughable. This is a party which:

    – opposes austerity
    – speaks up for immigration and immigrants
    – scrapped tuition fees
    – stopping privatisation of the NHS in Scotland when both Labour and the Tories did it in England
    – scrapped prescription charges
    – opposed the Iraq war
    – opposes Trident
    – introduced equal marriage (as did the other parties in the UK)
    – gets more working clas votes than any other party: //

    With the only right wing policy people regularly list – cutting corporation tax – is something Labour did when it was in government by more than the SNP are proposing to do.

    Now, the SNP isn’t a radical left party as I’d like it to be. They are wrong on corporation tax (though less wrong than Labour).

    But the idea that ‘there is nothing left wing about them’ is laughable. And if you want to start throwing stones about who is funding the two campaigns, you might want to look at the Better Together backers too.



  8. Paul S

    It’s difficult to take an article seriously when the subject is four words of quote taken out of context. The conclusion may be completely correct or completely false but to draw it from such paltry, selective quoting is just a bad attempt at journalism.

  9. Max Bennie

    What’s nationalistic about criticising a nationalist?

  10. Max Bennie

    Better Together claim they never received any money from Taylor.

  11. Lee Gilray

    Oh… GREAT reply there max… Full of intelligence… I take it you are a British nationalist? Welsh nationalist? Maybe a Scottish nationalist? European nationalist?? Which one are you because you must be a nationalist of some kind!

  12. Lee Gilray

    James bloodworth… As a writer you should know the difference between a quote and an ACTUAL QUOTE! Twisting quotes and omitting words to make your article sound… ‘Stirring’ is by far one of the lowest form of journalism. Please, man up and actually look for and write the truth! Be a true journalist, there are very few left, this is just an opinionated blogg… An amateur blogger at best.

  13. Max Bennie

    You think I’m a nationalist because I don’t like nationalism?

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